“Guil: It was chance, then?
Guil: You found us.
Player: Oh yes.
Guil: You were looking?
Player: Oh no.
Guil: Chance, then
Player: Or fate.
Guil: Yours or ours?
Player: It could hardly be one without the other.
Guil: Fate, then.
Player: Oh yes. We have no control. Tonight we play to the court. Or the night after. Or to the tavern. Or not.” – Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard
Thoughts on Fate, Chance, and Free Will
The Universe is made up of energy. I don’t intend to dwell on that because there is a large body of work in both the Spiritual and Scientific spaces that explains this concept far better than I can. Instead, this post is simply going to start from that premise; the Universe is made up of energy.
Matter is a particular organization structure of energy. Like the previous premise, this may either sound strange or be staggering in its statement of the obvious. If you think about it, this understanding is really the heart of all the natural sciences – physics and chemistry most blatantly, but biology is rooted in this concept as well. The periodic table of elements, which many are familiar with from school, literally details energetic organization. From such a perspective, all solid matter is really just energy that has been ‘fixed’ into a particular form.
That idea leads into our next premise; Energy can be either fixed or fluid. Fixed energy is matter and fluid energy is – well – a myriad of energy types that are more mutable in nature; heat, light, sound, weather, electricity, thoughts etc. I use the terms “fixed” and “fluid” to refer to the form and mobility of the particles, not to suggest that “fluid” energy can transition from one type of energy to another. Energetic organization structures can transition between a fixed and fluid state. Some do this more easily than others – for example water.  Water can be fixed – as ice – or fluid – as a liquid or vapor.
All energy moves and, because it moves, the various individual pieces move in a particular way (sometimes even as a group as when energy is ‘fixed’ into a corporeal form). We live on a planet that revolves and rotates around the sun, in a solar system that rotates around the galaxy, in a galaxy that rotates around the universe; any perceived stillness is relative, not absolute.
Because everything moves, energy – whether fixed or fluid – has a flow and a trajectory. Units of energy move at different speeds and have varying amounts of momentum along a particular path. Fixed energy moving quickly is more difficult to stop or re-direct than fluid energy that has not gathered much momentum. Your windbreaker will stop some wind from reaching you, but it won’t stop a bus and it definitely won’t stop a tornado.
Wait, What was this Post about?
You may be wondering at this point what all this talk about energy and movement has to do with the fate vs. free will debate. That’s a fair question. Let me just note that my intention in this post is to explain (based on my understanding) how the physical properties of the universe work together in a way that resolves this apparent opposition. In order to do that, however, I wanted to lay out the basic premises my argument is built on in as logical and straightforward a way as possible. (more…)